John Cena's 3 Year Legacy Has Proven He's The Future
June 20, 2005 by Bruce Chen
Before you start jumping to conclusions, I am in no way a John Cena mark. In fact, I hated John Cena until Judgment Day, and then my hate started to waver for him. By the time this is posted, it will probably be the three year anniversary of John Cena's SmackDown! debut. As I write this, John Cena's fourth year in the WWE will begin eight days from now, the Monday Night RAW falling out of Vengeance. It would truly be fateful to see if three years after his debut, John Cena has the WWE Championship around his waist in a hopefully good match that he will retain in. Don't get me wrong, it'd be cool to see either Christian or Chris Jericho wins the title, but I am really rooting for the bookers to do the right thing and have Cena retain, and draft both Christian and Cena to SmackDown! so they can feud there. But that's a different story.
Let's take a look back at John Cena's debut match against Kurt Angle. That match immediately told me that John Cena was destined for something. While having Cena beat Angle does not back up my opinion as much as if he beat someone like Undertaker, who isn't usually willing to job to up and comers, unlike Angle, who will job to anyone. But the way they put Cena over was just unbelievable. The following weeks, Chris Jericho and Undertaker get involved with this new kid, Undertaker backing him up and Cena eventually getting into a feud with Y2J. Cena scored the win over Y2J, and was poised for a push. But he was soon put into the tag division with Billy Kidman. For a couple of weeks I thought Cena was going to be put through a jobbing phase after his success against established veterans, but instead, they do the one thing that revives so many wrestler's pushes: turn him heel. After a series of confrontations with the likes of Rikishi, Cena is pushed into the title scene, when it appeared there would be no one to challenge Lesnar. Surprisingly, it actually worked out, as it was a damn good match and proved to a lot of people that Cena was a great performer. Cena was gold. He had one of the most money-making gimmicks in the business and was starting to show he could do it in the ring.
Next up for Cena is a spot in the US title tournament. I thought this was a good thing for Cena, if he won the US title, that could only do good for him, as the US title would be doing what it was meant to be, a stepping stone, so that after the US title run, he would go after the WWE Title once again. But no, it was all to set up a feud with the Undertaker. Instead of jobbing to Cena, which at this point in Taker's career, would not have hurt him, Cena lost. A prime example of Taker's unwillingness to job. After an entertaining feud with Eddie Guerrero, Cena turned face when he joined Team Angle at Survivor Series to defeat Brock Lesnar's team, who at the time was
a major heel. As Chris Benoit, who partnered with Cena and was hugely involved with him in recent weeks, got a major push by winning the Rumble, Cena lost in a three way to main event WrestleMania, and instead at WM 20 won the US title from the Big Show. This was the turning point in John Cena's career, who had managed to get so over, despite never winning a title. Even as a mid-card champion, he was one of the biggest babyfaces in the entire business. His pops were second only to Eddie Guerrero's, and sometimes he got bigger pops than Eddie. John Cena's summer of 2004 was basically spent dominating the mid-card, beating Rene Dupree, Rob Van Dam, and Booker T among others to establish himself as a dominant US Champion by eventually becoming a three time US Champ, even making his own belt. At this
point, Cena's popularity was at a boiling point, and the only way to make it explode into tons and tons of publicity and revenue was to give Cena the ball. At WrestleMania 21, one year after his first title win, he ended the nine month reign of John Bradshaw Layfield to become WWE Champion, doing what Eddie Guerrero, Undertaker, Booker T, Kurt Angle, and Big Show could not do.
Fast forward to today. Cena has recently been in a huge publicity stunt involving his defect from SmackDown! to Monday Night RAW. Three years into his career, and he is the biggest draw in the business. Smarks all over the world hate him for his wavering in-ring abilities, which have since dwindled from 2003. No matter how much they try and sell Batista as the World Champion, the REAL Champion is John Cena, Cena's gimmick is gold, his mic skills are second to none, excluding maybe The Rock, can put on good matches when necessary. Cena truly has what it takes to carry this business. People say his gimmick is getting stale, but that is simply blind hate. They would all eat their words in a second if Cena turned heel. I truly beg the WWE to send Cena back to SmackDown!, as he cannot afford to lose his title, and become a sitting duck on RAW where he certain to buried by Triple H. It is unfortunate that that is the fate that will probably await Kurt Angle, and the fate that has bestruck Randy Orton and Chris Benoit, who have both been saved by being sent to SmackDown!. Unlike Orton and Benoit, who, one of them got stale as a face, and one of them had no charisma and mic skills anyway, Cena is still fresh and has TONS of charisma and will NOT be forgotten, you cannot bury him. Cena needs to be the top man on SmackDown! and get into high profile feuds. It's his destiny to become the future of the WWE, because it sure is not Batista, and for now, will not be Orton. Out of those
three, John Cena, in my opinion is currently having the most successful title reign.
by Bruce C. ..
well i actually do like john cena but every single time i see his wwe title it pisses me off!
john cena is a great guy but having the wwe belt, a belt that some wrestlers can only dream of holding and that some of the greatest have held has now been turned into a blatant rip off of the g-unit chain! and yes, he has a great gimmick, but cena isn't 22, 23, hes 28. he cant have this gimmick much longer.i mean imagine triple h, at 35, still having his dx gimmick, it wont be beliavable, like cena's gimmick will be in like 3 more years. i think cena should stay raw, but i do think he has no chance against triple h, unless cena is fortunate enough to have triple h drafted to sd! (which should happen) cena is gonna sink on raw.
Michael Dam wrote:
First of all let me say that i am no John Cena fan, i you also might find out during this comment..
First of all i must say i admire John Cena on the mic.. thats where he's scores the points.. but as far as wrestling goes.. He's far below guys like Y2J and Christian.
That Christian hasnt held the title is a big a mistake as that Edge havent held it, I give him credit for his skills AND he's mic skills.. which in my oppionion matches Cena's. "Then why isnt Chritian the champ""" - I dont know.. really..
I agree with u that Cena's title reign is succesfull.. But dont understand that you changed you mind after Judgement day"... That match was one of the worst matches..(proberly due to higher expectations) i have seen in a long time.. Really didnt understand the concept of a "I quit" match lasting around 20 mins.
You also talk about Cena's has got to make he's own belt.. I thing that i personally think is a very WRONG thing.. Well i didnt have a problem with it, when he messed the US Title up.. but changing the Legendary WWE Title".. Now whats up with that.. For me that shows nothing but disrespect to the other title holders before him.. Y2J, Brock, Eddie and JBL + many others..
For WWE and Cena it is a succesfull reign.. But for me i think it should never have taken place..
Steve (UK) wrote:
I don't wish to needlessly pick holes in your argument, but some things really do need to be addressed. You refer to Cena having "one of the most money-making gimmicks in the business" at the time he was challenging Lesnar. Now, really.. how was Cena's gimmick making money"" There was no merchandise to speak of at the time, and to draw money either at the gate or on PPV, you have to be the main event. Cena was not drawing the live crowds (that would be Lesnar and Undertaker) and the buyrate for the Backlash PPV (a disappointing one) would be attributed to Rock vs Goldberg.
Also, you refer to Undertaker being unwilling to job for Cena at Vengeance. The original plan, which made sense for business, was for Cena to go over. This got changed when Undertaker's father passed away that week, and so they allowed him to win the match. It had nothing to do with Undertaker being unwilling to job.
You are correct, however, in pointing out that Cena was in effect top babyface on SmackDown for much of 2004. In fact, the popularity he experienced between Survivor Series 2003 and WrestleMania XX was incredible. Unfortunately him beating the Big Show was pointless as their feud had been ludicrously dragged out and since the moment it began it was clear Cena would win, and when Cena had the U.S. title he was already so over he didn't need it. He sure didn't need it three times. The duration of Bradshaw's title reign was ridiculous, and seemed to exist only while Cena was groomed for the top spot. Had management been brave enough, upon deciding (erroneously) that Eddy couldn't handle being the champ, they would have switched the title directly onto Cena and avoided the hideously unbelievable Acolyte title reign. In the opinion of this writer by the time Cena eventually did get the belt, the appeal of his character had been diluted by a series of poor performances and a fixation with homophobia and scatology in all his promos. The gritty tweener role he had played for the first few months of 2004 was a distant memory, and he had been forced down our throats. Furthermore the desire for quality wrestling meant certain vocal groups of fans actually cheered for Kurt Angle over Cena at No Way Out on the basis he would be a better choice to relieve the Acolyte of the belt. In addition, Cena beating Bradshaw seemed like no big deal given how short the match was and that Bradshaw was a lame champion, pinning few of his challengers and pinning none of them cleanly. Hell, he only became the champ because GM Angle said so!
Still, you say Cena is the biggest draw in the business. I say prove it. Let's wait and see what Judgment Day pulled in for a buyrate and compare it to any recent Raw PPV offerings. Better yet, a house show in the build-up to 'Mania headlined by Bradshaw v Cena (Jackson, Mississippi on March 21st) drew about 800 fans. Draw your own conclusion.
You say Cena's mic skills are second to none" Personally, I find jokes about shite and being gay as funny as a funeral, and I would even rather listen to Bradshaw's insane ramblings about being a Wrestling God. At least he makes me laugh. Best of all, you refer to Benoit as having "no charisma." Saying he is lacking would be fair, but NO charisma" And it is the Cena-haters who are guilty of "blind hate"" Chris Benoit can make a crowd erupt with his throat-slitting motion, and doesn't need a microphone to do so. Tell me a story in the ring, not on the mic.
However, I will agree with you on your final point. John Cena is the future of the WWE. He doesn't have, in my opinion, the complete package as Randy Orton does. Orton has the tools to be a main event player like no-one else since the Rock, however his natural arrogance means he will only ever succeed as a heel, and as we all know it is the faces that make the money both at the gate and in the merchandise stands. Given the "chain gang" phenomenom, an indication of the image-obssessed bling-bling culture of today, I'd say the Weeeee can milk a whole lot of money out of John Cena. John Cena IS the future of the WWE. And that's why I watch the Indys.
PS..Study the picture shown in your article, in particular the fan's sign. People are starting to wake up.
Ok, you said that people who say Cena's gimmick is stale, is just them speaking out of blind hate" You are just blindly sticking up for him, I have said this alot, Cena at one time was entertaining, but he's never really been that good, he had a good match or two, but most were with people who have been putting opther people over for years.(Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Big Show anyone") And WWE only plan to continue giving Cena matches with people that can put him over, I.E. Chris Jericho, Christian, and even Muhammag Hassan. By defeating Hassan and ending his streak, Cena was put over, for god only knows why. Cena is one of the worst preformers in the ring, but when it comes to the mic, sure he makes a smart remark now and then that has me saying "Oh Snap!". But let's face it, you said his charisma is second to none, except the Rock" Well, let me put it to you this way, RAVEN! SHAWN MICHAELS! MUHAMMAD HASSAN! CHRIS JERICHO, EDDIE GUERRERO! So now that I have disproved you, put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Bill Kovaleski wrote:
You mentioned that Kurt Angle put over John Cena in his Smackdown debut...
actually Angle pinned him with a double arm bar turning him on the mat for
the 3 count. Although Cena appears to be over with the fans now, I feel he
was much more intense and looked more like a professional wrestler then.
Just an observation.
Dev Hasan wrote:
Im apart of the "Chain Gang" and I liked your column. But saying he sucks isnt cool. I mean he has worked hard to impress us...I mean nobody here never seemed to talk about JBL's matches during his reign...
JBL had to be carried from start to beginning. Like Paul Heyman said, the reason JBL was champion for a year was because Triple H didnt want to work Tuesdays.
Anyone saying Cena's wrestling or mic skills or anything are wack is nuts. He could become a greater preformer if given more time in the ring. His gimmick hasnt even gone stale, only blind haters say that cause they can't hack someone new being intop instead of the same boring un-funny, un-entertaining wrestlers.
In WWE there are only THREE wrestlers who deserve the title that one being John Cena, Chris Jericho and Christian. Cena in my opinion is the answer to the WWE since The Rock's depature. No-one in WWE has been getting the reaction Cena has been getting since Rocky left. John Cena brings in money to WWE - Top Selling Items on Shopzone are all John Cena's. I went to the Smackdown! show in London, England this year and whoever was there was like 95% of Cena shirts and the others were a mix of Taker's new shirt and just Rocky and Austin shirt's. When Cena's music hit, the pop was so massive...the arena shaked, I don't think there was one fan sitting down during his match.
If any fan here watched Cena since his debut, knows he had a big fat arsenal when he was the "Prototype" and when he was heel. He's more focused like the guy who wrote this column on doing moves that would get a crowd reaction like The 5 Knuckle Shuffle - I guess that's his version of The Rock's "Laying The Smackdown" move then spitting on his hand and "Laying It" of course. Which always gets a big reaction.
Not every wrestler can wrestle like Bret, Owen, Benoit, Jericho, etc.
I could easily sit here all day and diss every single weakness every superstar has in WWE, but I don't.
One last thing...putting Randy into Cena's league is a joke...Randy couldent get a reaction from the crowd unless it was female fans, that is it. His match with Benoit - Benoit couldent make him look good either, the whole match sucked. Eugene vs Triple H was WAY better. Randy did 2 moves in that match and YES I DID COUNT just for future notification and he just did 2 in his match with Taker and 3 with Triple H. Don't say he was injured during HHH and Benoit's matches cause he wasnt, he got booed when he was supposed to be face.
Actually not even Foley could make him look good after Foley made The Rock and Triple H look good at Royal Rumble 1999 and 2000.
nate tovar wrote:
What is he saying"^ John Cena is good, but the word on the street is that he might loose the title due to his crappy matches. In his few title defenses of the U.S. title he lost to Carlito after he couldnt put him away. Then he got what was coming to him and got clocked by a fidt full of metal. In his return match he beat a Carlito with a broken arm. Oh WOW what a victory over a helpless man. He then defended the title against The illustrious Kenzo Suzuki. He won in a very boring and pointless match of course awarded by a large pop from the chain gang. Then Next week the same happened with Renee Dupree. The yet again, he faced Kenzo Suzuki. What a title defense. Then as Champion he's defended in a good match against JBL, but nothing besides that. He faced Muhammad Hassan on raw and had a terrible wast of a match. Then of course he won the Triple Threat. In my opinion John Cena is a great wrestler, but he needs to learn to take a match beyond the abvious. I.E. the Championship match at Wrestle Mania
Steve (UK) wrote:
Again, not to pointlessly pick holes in people's well-constructed arguments, but what appear to have broken out on this page are not well-constructed and in all fairness barely seem to be arguments, rather opinions.
Mr Hassan, who seems quite proud of his ability to count moves ("YES I DID COUNT just for future notification") I would like to point out, having not watched the Benoit-Orton match for months, that Orton executed at the bare minimum his unique over-the-shoulder backbreaker, a sweet Canadian backbreaker transitioned into a neckbreaker, and the match-winning RKO. That's three moves from memory already, "for future notification," and while I'd love to tell you exactly how many more than two Mr Orton used in that match, I have no intention of watching a match just to count the moves. As for Orton being booed against Benoit "when he was supposed to be face," were you even watching Raw at the time" He was a member of Evolution. He was a heel. Incidently, by saying people booed Orton, you have contradicted your first point about Orton being unable to illicit a reaction if it wasn't from female fans. Talk about pissing on your own bonfire.
I will allow myself a little opinion here too, just for fun. The matches with Trips sucking" I totally agree, and Randy sucked as a face. If you read what I wrote, you'll understand my endorsement only went to Orton as a heel. Foley couldn't "make him look good"" Did we watch the same match" It was compelling and told a story, much as the aforementioned matches with Trips and the Rock. But then I don't expect to agree with a person who thinks Trips/Eugene was better than Benoit/Orton, that Rock or Trips needed Foley to "make them look good," or that admits to being in the "Chain Gang." After all the presence of a well-paced match or any psychology seems to be at best fourth on the totem pole of importance, after the match featuring Eugene, one wrestler "making another look good," or the number of moves featured being more than two. YES I DID COUNT just for future notification.
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